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ImageImageImageImageA shorthand of desire:

 

 

THE ART OF KATRIEN DE BLAUWER

   
 
 
       
 
 
 
Fragment of the waving hand.
 
Corner of a white dress.
 
Juxtaposition of limbs and tree branches.
 

 

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A shorthand of desire:  THE ART OF KATRIEN DE BLAUWER

 
 
 
“Katrien de Blauwer  is a great collagist from Belgium . She has a knack for synthesizing disparate photo elements, usually portraiture, into something far greater than its parts and tells an emotional truth powerful, surprising and disturbing about existence, desire and expectation. She is sensational”.
 
carl heyward / 2013 / from an interview with claudio parentela 
 
 
 
 
Katrien De Blauwer: has an uncanny grasp of the reduction of visual materials to produce maximum impactive meaning; less definitely being more; parts telling a story whole, felt and not explained, left to the viewer, the wanderer, the usurper of feeling and sight to determine just how close to the bone she has cut this time; is there time to bleed, to grieve this shared knowledge of the condition that we, I would say especially women, share or know intuitively to be true; the truth of existence, the experiential rush and flooding of the senses in free-fall without ground or parachute or even sky to fail us only gravity and thud to earth in obvious conclusion; only delicious collision can stop us now, nothing short of truth or death or the value of and trust in the animal fear that ties us together? How dare we have expectation!
 
 
 
Nod and acquiescence to silence and forgetting.
 
Drink and dinner date before wed to grave of bed.
 
The body speaks in tongues.
 
The body speaks in “thuds”.
 
Do you know the language of the body, the speech of the languid hand?
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Katrien De Blauwer does and shows in stacks and rows in cords of disjointed images of humanity the grace and waste, the certainty of desire and the taste of the re-configured distorted manifestation of the physical soul-of-the matter housed in the body revealed by codes and attitudes, hunches and magical thinking and tight knit sweaters, grinning leers, naked haunches, beehive hairdos, vintage shots of frozen passion re-constructed photos on torn paper like skewed intention, tan and time-worn green pulp; musty grandma dresses in shameful closets of understated lust and rotted longing; sob-soaked paper; a last-gasp pre-funereal reclamation of what it really is and what it really is is undeniable and known to us but rarely seen rarely acknowledged, too raw, too rare, too real to imagine; a rude awakening to transparency and collaborative insignificance too much to bear.
 
 
Fragment of the waving hand.
 
Corner of a white dress.
 
Juxtaposition of limbs and tree branches.
 
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There  is something of the Alice in Wonderland in De Blauwers work and outlook: myopic, fanciful vision, seemingly, ultimately a gravely disappointed view with ominous overtones indicting the sham of existence especially that of sexual tension (inappropriate and other series);, of of knowing seeing that the perception of the real underbelly of reality and relations are tearful, veiled, fear-based, oblique, unsure yet clear….despised…clearly.
 
 
 
Through the years my viewing of Katrien’s work has been informed by a great openess and recognition of both her products and process. As I have gotten to know her and her work a bit better I have come to realize that the ease of her rendering her connections and associations is indeed deceptive; beyond thought: she is tapped into experience and a truth of expression difficult on this shadowy plane of fragmented or detached sensuality giving rise to a mourning of sorts; last-gasp attempt to hold onto invented memory….there is desperation in her work, not reverence, perhaps anger over humor; not resignation to but a re-ordering of the sensibilities of reality and the power that forges it.  Katrien’s work is her own invented and stylized “creation myth”, the muted sound of inferred vision, a  morse code of the soul.
 
 
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heyward:
 
 what determines titles or areas of investigation?
 
de blauwer:
 
 titles come afterwards. They are always short, simple (like “Limbs” or “Dress”) and add an extra layer to the work. They put the reader in a direction, although it may be a wrong one.
 
 My main area of investigation is always myself. I’m trying to investigate my subconscious feelings, thought and fears. Over time the techniques may vary, but the area of investigation remains the same.
 
heyward:
 
are there overlapping themes in any series over time?
 
de blauwer:
 
Yes, Movements, Repetition, Limbs, Dress, Stairs, Children, Trees, …
 
h:
 
 what characterizes your work? what is the intent of the work?
 
db:
 
making collages is a daily obsessive routine, a way to express my thoughts and feelings in a direct way and to get a grip on my demons.
 
 
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h:
 
conscious themes that you are aware in your work
 
db:
 
emotions, loss, desire, sensuality, erotic, fear, obsesions
 
h:
 
 what is the appeal of using anonymous photographs/individuals/settings/materials
 
db:
 
it brings up questions to the reader. It makes the stories more open to suggestion.
 
h:
 
 does subject anonymity (found photographs) appeal
 
db:
 
of course
 
h:
 
 are you an art/anthropologist
 
db:
 
no, why do you ask me?
 
 
 
h:
 
there is an investigative quality to your work, the selection of subject matter, the actual juxtapositions, purely impersonal and scientific and the irony is that you primarily are investigating or giving visual expression to emotions both universal and personal…
 
what appeals to you about photography?
 
db:
 
I like photography when it’s about emotions, not technique. A photograph cannot be to perfect. I more like photography in the old days, when people used to get dressed to have their picture taken, when it was still a ritual. I also like the way they finished the pictures on a thick cardboard back with the name of the photographer on it.
 
I find it very attractive when you see peoples’ wallets there’s always a small picture in it from their loved ones.
 
h:
 
how do you respond to the notion that you sometimes depict a sort of predator/victim co-existence?
 
db:
 
I do not see it like that, anyway, the evil lies in the eyes of the beholder.
 
 
h:
 
is your aesthetic world habitable/ sustainable of failing values/ are we seeing cultural distortion and the failing of a moral-societal series of imposed codes and expectations as well as its values?
 
db:
 
I cannot judge this. I like being in my world (cocoon), where it’s safe. I try with my collages to remember what I missed during childhood and to recall it. I don’t like the outside. I get easily overstrung by it.
 
h:
 
 who lives in the world of Katrien De Blauwer?
 
db:
 
a scared little girl.
 
 
h:
 
is there the possibility of evolution in your depicted world
 
 
db:
 
there’s a constant evolution I think. I’m always questioning and challenging myself.
 
 
h:
 
is failure is fixed/ inevitable
 
db:
 
by growing older I learn to accept failure. It’s part of the process. Failure can be very interesting. Pain is a good teacher.
 
 
h:
 
is there salvation?
 
 
db:
 
salvation is in one’s self.
 
 
h:
 
who is served by the distance and distortion implied in your work?
 
 
db:
 
I think everyone will recognize a lot of the themes used in my work.
 
 
 
 
 
h:
 
 
respond to the notion of codes or short hand for WANT and DESIRE
 
 
db:
 
it’s interesting to think about, could be a new series
 
 
h:
 
the aged and frayed papers that you mount or use as background for your images….why the fragility and instability?
 
 
db:
 
I love it. It’s me.
 
h: respond…
 
de blauwer:
 
INAPPROPRIATE: Feeling uncomforable, unwanted
 
WITHOUT: All the works have one picture, that’s why
 
SEHNSUCHT : Desire, memories, tension between man and woman, dreams
 
FEMININ: Is about woman, their world, the shape
 
 
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carl hewyard is an artist and writer living in san francisco, california
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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